Microlearning is a method of delivering educational content in small, easily digestible chunks that facilitate quick and effective understanding. The rise of microlearning has largely been driven by the increasing need for flexible, easily accessible, and effective learning experiences that cater to employees' busy work schedules and shorter attention spans.
Long-form modules were created for a workplace that was familiar with day-long training. They intended to digitize the training sessions while preserving the teaching style. However, innovations in training have made clear that there are better options for how digital training can provide effective learning.
Microlearning, which incorporates short-length courses that are easy to read and comprehend with design formats including rich media such as videos and infographics, is a less time-consuming and more efficient option. This approach allows learners to grasp important concepts quickly and not lose productivity while learning new skills.
But microlearning can’t replace everything – there are some skills that are better taught in-person, or in a more complex module. However, it’s a great way to teach core concepts for business-related training. To help you grasp how you can implement microlearning across your workforce, we’ll go over some of the common ways that this training can fit into the lives of modern workers as well as the various types of microlearning.
The constantly interrupted employee
Workers are constantly switching tasks to work as efficiently as possible for their company. They are also constantly taking in new information via Slack, email, and conference calls. The thousands of productivity and task-tracking apps and services out there belies how many workers are struggling to keep from being overwhelmed and stop information from slipping through the cracks. Evidence supports that the overwhelm is real – employees are, on average, interrupted every 12 minutes. Microlearning is designed to overcome this and provide focus. With modules that last from 3–10 minutes on average, lessons can fit in between these interruptions, making it easier to absorb new information. This works – various studies show that microlearning increases long-term retention of knowledge.
The learn-as-they-go employee
If an employee is overwhelmed, it may be difficult for them to truly focus on any information that is not immediately relevant to the task. This is a problem when it comes to long-form modules. Information that is not immediately relevant is ignored when employees are forced to complete long training courses. With an hour-long module, it may be impossible to call up the key concept at that 1.3-hour mark to refresh oneself on the information before the task begins.
Microlearning is designed to be used and revisited as the information is needed. Think of the way you complete tasks at home: you don’t take an hour training on changing your car oil then change it three weeks later. You are more likely to wait and pull up a YouTube video just before you begin the task. Then the video accompanies you while you complete the oil change. Or – maybe you remember most of how to complete this task but need a refresher on just choosing the right type of oil. It is easy to pull up a short video that will cover just this one piece of the process.
Employees can do essentially the same thing with microlearning. They can pull up short modules covering 1–2 key concepts related to their task while they are completing it. For example, an onboarding video teaching employees how to file a PTO request may be revisited a few times a year each time they file a PTO request. This makes microlearning more relevant – and that is reflected in engagement rates. Most companies that switch to microlearning see an increase in learner engagement – sometimes as much as 90%.
The legally-regulated employee
Some employees are in positions that deal with strict compliance laws that may be updated regularly. This can include anyone from machine operators to those who maintain the privacy of clients and customers. The good news is that microlearning has a great advantage in these situations: because the learning is broken up into short modules, they are easy, fast, and cheap to update. Remember: with a long-form module, each update requires creating a new piece of video and then splicing it into existing videos. When re-editing entire courses, rendering times are long and the editing process is clunky.
With microlearning, each piece of the course is short and self-sufficient, as each video is broken up into key concepts that are independent of each other. All you need to do when regulations change is build a brand-new course and upload it to replace the previous module covering that particular compliance concept. This makes it easier and faster to keep all employees up to date on the latest regulations regarding their roles.
Microlearning comes in various learning content formats, each tailored to suit different learning objectives, preferences, and contexts. By understanding the different types available, you can better align your learning strategy with your specific needs and microlearning best practices. Here are some prominent types of microlearning:
1. Video-based microlearning
Video microlearning involves delivering bite-sized video content that focuses on a specific concept or skill. These videos are typically short, engaging, and visually appealing, making them ideal for capturing learners' attention and conveying information effectively.
2. Interactive simulations
Simulations provide learners with an interactive environment to apply their knowledge and skills in a risk-free setting. Through scenarios and simulations, learners can practice decision-making, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills, enhancing their learning experience.
3. Quizzes and assessments
Microlearning quizzes and assessments offer quick, targeted assessments to reinforce learning and measure understanding. These can take the form of quizzes, polls, or surveys, allowing learners to assess their knowledge in a low-pressure setting and receive immediate feedback.
4. Infographics and visual summaries
Infographics and visual summaries condense complex information into visually appealing graphics, making them easy to digest and remember. By presenting key concepts and information in a concise and visually stimulating format, learners can quickly grasp essential information.
5. Interactive eBooks and/or PDFs
Interactive eBooks or PDFs incorporate multimedia elements such as videos, animations, and interactive activities into traditional reading materials. This format provides learners with an engaging and immersive learning experience, allowing them to interact with the content in meaningful ways.
6. Mobile learning apps
Mobile learning apps deliver microlearning content directly to learners' smartphones or tablets, allowing them to access learning materials anytime, anywhere. These apps often feature short lessons, quizzes, and interactive activities designed for on-the-go learning.
7. Podcasts and audio-based learning
Podcasts and audio-based microlearning use the power of audio to deliver educational content in a convenient and accessible format. Learners can listen to podcasts while commuting, exercising, or performing other tasks, maximizing their learning opportunities.
8. Games and gamification
Microlearning games and gamification techniques incorporate game elements such as challenges, rewards, and competition into the learning process. By adding an element of fun and interactivity, these approaches motivate learners and enhance engagement.
9. Short articles and blogs
Short articles and blogs provide concise and focused information on specific topics, making them ideal for quick learning sessions. By breaking down complex ideas into bite-sized chunks, learners can absorb information more easily and apply it to their work or studies.
10. Social learning and peer-to-peer interaction
Social learning platforms facilitate peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration, allowing learners to share knowledge, discuss ideas, and learn from one another. By engaging in discussions, debates, and group activities, learners can deepen their understanding and build a sense of community.
Microlearning works for everyone
The modern employee landscape is one of information overwhelm and constant changes. Microlearning is an adaptable, focused solution for the challenges of learning in that environment.
Embracing the diverse types of microlearning allows organizations and learners to leverage a range of tools and techniques to enhance learning outcomes. By incorporating a variety of formats such as videos, simulations, quizzes, infographics, and mobile apps, you can create a dynamic and engaging learning experience, including a microlearning platform, that meets the needs of modern learners everywhere.
How can a microlearning approach improve employee training through an LMS?
A microlearning approach can improve employee training through a microlearning LMS by breaking down complex information into bite-sized, easily digestible modules. This allows learners to access and absorb information at their own pace, resulting in better retention and application of knowledge.
Microlearning platforms deliver benefits to both learners and organizations. They provide a more accessible, flexible, and engaging learning experience that leads to improved knowledge retention, performance, and productivity.
Absorb Amplify is our microlearning LMS solution for the modern workforce. Make training easier by eliminating the need for costly in-person or web classes with a turnkey content library that's available on demand within our microlearning platform. Engineered just right, these microlearning courses are designed to engage learners and retain knowledge.